Amarillo. TX - Amarillo may soon be home to an affiliated baseball team.
The original game plan was to recruit an independent baseball team for the downtown multi-purpose event venue (MPEV), like the Amarillo Thunderheads, and then upgrade to an affiliated team down the line. However, Wednesday the Amarillo Local Government Corporation (LGC) voted unanimously to pursue an affiliated minor league team instead of an independent one.
When it comes to the MPEV, the LGC wants to knock it out of the park. Members believe they can do that by bringing in a AA team affiliated with Major League Baseball. "The landscape has changed over the last six years, and we now have a chance to land a AA team," said councilman and LGC member Randy Burkett.
One team they are looking at is the San Antonio Missions.
"A AA team takes most of the risk out of it," said Burkett. "An independent league and an independent team is very risky. They are here today and gone tomorrow in some cases. Not all cases, but with AA baseball, you're a league affiliate with Major League Baseball. They'll come in here and sign a 30-year agreement with us and then we'll know we will have an affiliated team here for 30 years."
The LGC also voted to start negotiating with consulting firm Brailsford and Dunlavey to design an updated plan for the MPEV.
"What we're looking at for help from them is to basically build on the feasibility study that was done four years ago and basically say, if we went after an affiliated team, how does that change things?" explained Assistant City Manager Bob Cowell. "What does that change in terms of what the stadium needs to look like, size, what goes into it and cost as well as what are the economic impacts associated with that?"
The LGC is working under a tight deadline to play ball downtown by the Spring 2018. For this to happen, a consulting firm will need to start designing the MPEV by this April.
Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10